Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings as we celebrate the Exultation of the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord.
On this festal day, let each of us embrace the Cross – both physically and spiritually – and contemplate its meaning in our lives.
The Cross should not simply be exalted in the liturgical rites and feasts of the Church, but in our daily lives as those have been sealed with the sign of the Cross in the Mysteries of our baptism and chrismation.
Every day should be our personal Exultation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross: exalted by our prayers, our actions, our thoughts, and even by the movements of our heart, soul and mind… yet so often we are like the iconoclasts, God-hating Bolsheviks and infidels who trampled upon the Cross; so often, we are hypocrites, constantly making the sign of the cross, wearing it around our necks, kissing it in Church, praying before it in our icon-corners, yet disparaging it by the sinful-rebellion and neglect of our lives.
With every cruel or thoughtless deed and word; by every act of judgment and condemnation; in every selfish rejection and insensitivity to our neighbour; in our neglect of those in need; through every impurity of mind, sense and body; through neglect of prayer and fasting; and in everything that opposes the Holy Gospel, we trample upon the Cross.
As the sign of Christ’s obedience to the will of the Father, even unto the death of the Cross; as the realisation of Christ’s sacrificial love for the world; as the physical manifestation of Christ’s selfless willingness to deny Himself for the sake of all – the Cross must manifest Christ’s obedience and selfless, sacrificial-love in our lives, through our willingness to embrace it as the sign and summation of what it means to be a Christian in deed, not simply in name.
So let us exult the Cross by loving the Lord with our whole heart and mind and soul, and by selflessly loving our neighbour with patience, tolerance and understanding; let us exalt the Cross by putting God and all others before ourselves; let us exalt the Cross by the sobriety and watchfulness of our lives; let us exalt the Cross by struggling to be pure, patient humble; let us exalt the Cross in worship, prayer, fasting and the ascetic-feat of the Christian life; let us exalt the Cross by our repentance and the struggle for holiness; in short, let us exalt the Cross by reflecting its every meaning in our lives.
Then the Saviour’s victory, by which Hell was shattered and the devil defeated, will become real in our lives, even though we are weak and feeble.
Then the Cross will be our strength, our sign of hope, and our invincible weapon – not simply an ornament that hangs around our necks.
It is in this joyful knowledge, as Christ’s children who have been baptised into the mystery of the Cross, that we can approach the Cross with confidence, embrace it and say:
“Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before His face. As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the demons perish from the presence of them that love God and who sign themselves with the sign of the Cross and say in gladness: Rejoice, most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, for Thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified on thee, Who went down to hades and trampled on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His precious Cross, for the driving away of every adversary. O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help me together with the holy Lady Virgin Theotokos, and with all the saints, unto the ages. Amen.”